Alexander Kazakov

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Alexander Alexandrovich Kazakov (Kozakov, Kosakoff) (Russian: Александр Александрович Казаков) (2 January 1889 – 1 August 1919) (British Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross and the French Légion d'honneur) was the most successful Russian flying ace and fighter pilot during the First World War.

Alexander Alexandrovich Kozakov
Born January 2, 1889
Kherson Governorate, Russian Empire
(now in Ukraine)
Died August 1, 1919(1919-08-01) (aged 30)
Vicinity of Benezniky
Allegiance  Russian Empire
 United Kingdom
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
Imperial Russian Air Force
 Royal Air Force
Years of service 1908 - 1918 (Russia)
1918 - 1919 (UK)
Rank Lieutenant Colonel (Russia)
Major (UK)
Unit 4th Corps Air Detachment
Commands held 19th Corps Fighter Detachment
Awards Order of Saint George, Order of Saint Vladimir, Order of Saint Stanislas, Order of Saint Anne, British Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, and Distinguished Flying Cross, French Legion d'Honneur and Croix De Guerre

Pre World War I[edit]

Born to a Russian noble family in Kherson Governorate, Kazakov graduated from Yelizavetgrad cavalry school in 1908. He did his stint in cavalry,[1] but in 1913 he began formal training as a pilot and graduated at the beginning of World War I from Gatchina military aviation school.[2]

World War I[edit]

Alexander Kazakov flew on Morane-Saulnier, Spad – SА2, Nieuport 11 and Nieuport 17 planes and is alleged to have the largest number of victories over enemy aircraft among Imperial Russian Air Force pilots. Unofficially he shot down 32 German and Austro-Hungarian planes, although his official tally is only 20 because only planes crashed in Russian-held territory were counted. Russian military aviation tradition during World War I was different from that of its Western allies and rivals and the individual scores of pilots were considered to be of lesser value compared to their contribution to the overall war effort.

On 31 March 1915 Alexander Kazakov successfully repeated the aerial ramming attack first attempted by Pyotr Nesterov, using a Morane-Saulnier G as his piloted projectile. For this bit of daring, he was awarded the Order of Saint Anne, first in the Fourth Class, then in the Third. He was appointed to command of 19th Corps Fighter Detachment in September 1915. Here he had Nieuport 10s and Nieuport 11s to fly.[1] Between 27 June and 21 December 1916, he racked up four more victories to become an ace.[3]

Five months later, Kazakov resumed his winning streak with his sixth victory on 6 May 1917, which was shared with Ernst Leman and Pavel Argeyev. By 25 May, with his eighth win, he switched to a Nieuport 17, which he used henceforth.[3] Between 1915 and 1917 he fought on the Russian front as well as in Romania and participated in the Brusilov Offensive as a commander of 1st Combat Air Group.[4]

In January 1918, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Kazakov resigned his Russian commission.[1]

Russian Civil War[edit]

During the Russian Civil War Kazakov joined the Slavo-British Allied Legion in Arkhangelsk and fought against the Workers' and Peasants' Air Fleet.[2]

On 1 August 1918 Kazakov became a major in the Royal Air Force and was appointed to be commanding officer in charge of an aviation squadron of the Slavo-British Allied Legion made up of Sopwith Camel planes. After the British withdrawal from Russia which left the Russian White Army in a desperate situation, Kazakov died in a plane crash during an air show on 1 August 1919 which was performed to boost the morale of the Russian anti-Bolshevik troops. Most witnesses of the incident, including British ace Ira Jones, thought Kazakov committed suicide.[1]

Honours and awards[edit]


Sources of information[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Nieuport Aces of World War I. p. 84. 
  2. ^ a b Kulikov, p. 15.
  3. ^ a b Retrieved on 8 May 2010.
  4. ^ Ltn. Karl Crome from FFA4b - The Aerodrome Forum at

External links[edit]